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D. Christopher Kayes

Chairman, Department of Management

Professor of Management

  • Department: Management
  • Email:
  • Phone: (202) 994-4795
  • Fax:
  • Office: Funger Hall, Ste. 313 • 2201 G St. NW • Washington, DC 20052
  • BA, Indiana University
  • MBA, Butler University
  • PhD, Case Western Reserve, 2001


Dr. Chris Kayes (PhD, Case Western Reserve University) is professor and chair of the Management Department at The George Washington University School of Business. He has also served as interim dean of the School of Business, where he led the school’s financial turnaround. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership at The George Washington University. He is author or coauthor of four books: Contemporary Organizational Behavior (Pearson), Organizational Resilience: How Learning Sustains Organizations Through Crisis, Disaster, and Breakdown (Oxford University Press), The Learning Advantage: Six Practices of Learning-Directed Leadership (Macmillan), and Destructive Goal Pursuit: The Mt. Everest Disaster (Macmillan).

Dr. Kayes’ research on learning, leadership, and organizations has appeared in 25 peer-reviewed publications. One paper received the first most significant contribution to the practice of management award by the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. In addition, his analysis of the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing disaster won a best paper award from the journal Human Relations, and his extension of experiential learning theory was nominated for the first best paper award in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal. His research has been featured in The Economist, Washingtonian, Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, BloombergTV, Business Insider, The Sunday Times of London, and Psychologies. Focusing on how leaders learn in the face of complex and novel situations, he has studied learning, leadership, and teamwork in a variety of settings in an effort to uncover hidden sources of vulnerability in organizations and identify ways that leaders build continuity in times of change and turmoil. His unique approach to goals and goal setting was featured in Oliver Burkeman’s book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.

Professor Kayes was selected by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs to film a video series as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. He received the Outstanding Teaching Award from George Washington University School of Business executive education students. He has taught at universities around the world, including the Singapore Institute of Management; the Zagreb School of Economics and Management in Croatia; the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland; the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia; the University of Hull in the United Kingdom; and Holy Spirit University in Beirut, Lebanon. He frequently conducts intensive multiday seminars to develop leaders and delivers keynote addresses on various leadership and learning topics.

Dr. Kayes has consulted with a variety of organizations, including Northrop Grumman, American Research Institute, WMS Gaming, Human Capital Singapore, National Institutes of Health, Fannie Mae, Oracle, Ericsson, Bank of New York Mellon, Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation, Singapore Workforce Development Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Judiciary, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy.

Selected Publications


  1. Elsbach, K., Kayes, A. B., & Kayes, D. C. (2016). Contemporary organizational behavior: From ideas to action. New York: Pearson.
  2. Kayes, D. C. (2015). Organizational resilience: How learning sustains organizations in crisis, disaster, and breakdown. New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. Kayes, D. C., & Kayes, A. B. (2011). The learning advantage: The six practices of learning directed leadership. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  4. Kayes, D. C. (2006). Destructive goal pursuit: The Mt. Everest disaster. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  5. Kayes, D. C. (2008). O desafio da lideranca: Aprendendo com o desastre no Monte Everest (Trans. C. Cortes de Barros e Azevedo). Sao Paulo, Brazil: Editora Novo Conceito.


  1. Yoon, J. & Kayes, D. C (in press). Employees’ self-efficacy and perception of individual learning in teams: The cross-level moderating role of team learning behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior
  2. Kayes, D. C., & Yoon, J. (2016). The breakdown and rebuilding of learning during organizational crisis, disaster, and failure. Organizational Dynamics, 45.
  3. Kayes, D. C., Allen, N., & Self, N. (2013). Integrating Learning, Leadership, and Crisis in Management Education: Lessons From Army Officers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Management Education, 37, 180-202.
  4. Knott, M. J., & Kayes, D. C. (2012). Individual contribution to a team: The importance of continuous adaptive learning. Organization Management Journal, 9, 1, 22-33.
  5. Ameli, P., & Kayes, D. C. (2011). Triple-loop learning in a cross-sector partnership: The DC Central Kitchen partnership. The Learning Organization, 18, 175-188.
  6. Yamazaki, Y., & Kayes, D. C. (2010). Learning and work satisfaction in Asia: A comparative study of Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian managers. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21, 2271-2289.
  7. Yamazaki, Y., & Kayes, D. C. (2007). Expatriate learning: Exploring how Japanese managers adapt in the United States. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18, 1373-1395.
  8. Kayes, D. C., Stirling, D., & Neilsen, T. (2007). Building organizational integrity. Business Horizons, 50(1), 61-70.
    • Reprinted in Social Impacts of Business eJournal, The Aspen Institute, July 12, 2007.
    • Reprinted in Dansk Indkobs og Logistik Forum. Access at:
  9. Kayes, D. C. (2006). From climbing stairs to riding waves: An overlapping waves approach to critical thinking in groups. Small Group Research, 37, 612-630. ABS 2.
  10. Kayes, D. C. (2006). Organizational corruption as theodicy. Journal of Business Ethics, 67, 51-62.
  11. Kayes, A. B., Kayes, D. C., & Yamazaki, Y. (2006). Transferring knowledge across cultures: A learning competencies approach. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 18(4), 87-100.
  12. Kayes, D. C., Kayes, A. B., & Yamazaki, Y. (2005). Essential competencies for cross-cultural knowledge absorption. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 20, 578-589.
  13. Reprinted in G. Fink & N. Holden (Eds.), Absorption and application of management knowledge. Bradford, England: Emerald Group Publishing.
  14. Kayes, D. C. (2005). Internal validity and reliability of Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory version 3 (1999). Journal of Business and Psychology, 20, 249-257.
  15. Kayes, D. C. (2005). The destructive pursuit of idealized goals. Organizational Dynamics, 34, 391-401.
    • Awarded the most significant contribution to the practice of management in the field of organizational behavior, Organizational Behavior Division, Academy of Management. First time awarded, 2005.
  16. Kayes, A. B., Kayes, D. C., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Experiential learning in teams. Simulation & Gaming, 36, 330-354.
  17. Kayes, A. B., Kayes, D. C., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Developing teams using Kolb’s team learning experience. Simulation & Gaming, 36, 355-363.
  18. Bailey, J., Sass, M., Swiercz, P. M., Seal, C., & Kayes. D. C. (2005). Teaching with and through teams. Student-written, instructor-facilitated case writing and the signatory code. Journal of Management Education, 29(1), 39-59.
  19. Kayes, D. C. (2004). The 1996 Mt. Everest climbing disaster: The breakdown of learning in teams. Human Relations, 57, 1236-1284.
    • Awarded best paper by editors, 2004
    • Most downloaded article, 2005
  20. Yamazaki, Y., & Kayes, D. C. (2004). An experiential approach to cross-cultural learning: A review and integration of success factors in expatriate adaptation. Academy of Management Learning Education, 3, 354-379.
    • Lead article, December 2004
  21. Kayes, D. C., & Kayes, A. B. (2003). Management development ‘through the looking glass’: Management education gone awry. Journal of Management Education, 27, 694-710.
  22. Kayes, D. C. (2003). Proximal team learning: Lessons from United Flight 93 on 9/11. Organizational Dynamics, 32, 80-92.
  23. Kayes, D. C. (2002). Experiential learning and its critics: Preserving the role of experience in management learning and education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1, 137-149. ABS 3.
    • Nominated for Best Paper, AMLE, 2002-2003
    • Lead article, December 2002
    • First accepted peer-reviewed article for journal
  24. Kayes, D. C. (2002). Dilemma at 29,000 feet: An exercise in ethical decision-making based on the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster. Journal of Management Education, 26, 307-321.
  25. Druskat, V. U., & Kayes, D. C. (2000). Learning versus performance in short term project teams. Small Group Research, 31, 328-353.


  1. Allen, N. , & Kayes, D. C. 2011. Leadership development in dynamic and hazardous environment: Company Commander learning through Combat. In Anne Mc Kee & Michael Eraut (Eds.). Learning Trajectories, innovation and identity for professional development. Series: Innovation and Change in Professional Education, Vol. 7. New York: Springer.
  2. Kayes, D. C. 2009. The problem with performance: Conditions for team learning. In (Eds.) P. Kamur, P. Ramsey, & B. Mackie, Learning and Performance Matters. World Scientific Publishing Company.
  3. Kayes, D. C. 2007. Institutional barriers to experiential learning. In (Eds.) M. Reynolds & R. Vince, Experiential Learning and Management Education. Oxford University Press.
  4. Kayes, D. C. , & Kayes, A. B. 2006. Learning style composition in teams: Implications for assessment. In (Eds.) Sims, R. & Sims, E. Learning Styles and Learning: A Key to Meeting the Accountability Demands in Education. Nova Press.
  5. Kayes, D. C. 2004. The limits and consequences of experience-absent reflection: Implications for learning and organizing. In (Eds.), M. Reynolds & R. Vince, Organizing Reflection. Ashgate Publishing.
  6. Kayes. D. C. 2002. Conversational learning in organization and human resource development. In A. Baker, P. Jensen & D. Kolb (Eds.), Conversational learning: An experiential approach to knowledge creation. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
  7. Kolb, A. , Baker, A. , Jensen, P. , & Kayes, D. C. 2002. The practice of conversational learning in higher education. In A. Baker, P. Jensen , & D. Kolb (Eds.), Conversational learning: An experiential approach to knowledge creation. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
  8. Kayes, D. C. 2002. Sociological issues in human resource development. In (Eds.), M. Marquardt, UNESCO-sponsored Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. Human Resources and Their Development.
  9. Druskat, V. U. , & Kayes, D. C. 1999. The antecedents of team competence: Toward a fine-grained model of self-managing team effectiveness. In (Eds.), M. Neale and E. Mannix, Research on Groups and Teams, Vol. 2. JAI Press: Greenwich, CT.


  1. Kayes, A. B. , & Kayes, D. C. 2007. Learning. In (Eds), J. Bailey & S. Clegg. International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies. Sage Publications.
  2. Kayes, D. C. , & Raelin, J. 2007. Goal setting. In (Eds), J. Bailey & S. Clegg. International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies. Sage Publications.
  3. Kayes, D. C. , & Burnett, G. 2007. Team learning. In (Eds), J. Bailey & S. Clegg. International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies. Sage Publications.
  4. Kayes, D. C. 2007. Lacanian Psychoanalysis. In (Eds), J. Bailey & S. Clegg. International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies. Sage Publications.
  5. Bailey, J. , & Kayes, D. C. 2005. Learning, individual. In (Eds.), Nigel Nicholson, Pino G. Audia, & Madan M. Pillutla. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management, 2nd Ed. Vol. XI. London: Blackwell, pp. 213-215.